New Works and Collaborations Abound in the Fall Dance Concert
Collaboration is always at the heart of the work of the Dance Program of UVA’s Department of Drama, and the Fall Dance Concert held last November was no exception. The production was the result of a semester-long partnership with the McIntire Department of Music, and was organized by Associate Professor and Artistic Director of Dance Kim Brooks Mata and Assistant Professor of Music Composition Leah Reid. Student dancers, composers, choreographers, faculty, and musicians came together to create an extraordinary evening of new works that explored the fascinating intersections of sound, space, and movement. Participating students were mentored through this engaging and challenging co-creative process by dance, composition, and performance faculty members. The original recordings and live performances by Katy Ambrose, Ayn Balija, Becky Brown, Kevin Davis, and I-Jen Fang were made possible through the generous support of the Mead Endowment.
For this concert, Brooks Mata worked with award-winning composer and sound artist Juan Carlos Vasquez (graduate student), cellist and improviser Kevin Davis, and a cast of student dancers on her piece, threadbare, based upon themes of construction and deconstruction. Beginning with generative explorations of concepts such as permeate, threshold, and threadbare, this work was created collaboratively with artistic input from the dancers, composer, and cellist. The piece challenged the dancers to actively orient themselves within a layered sonic, conceptual, movement-filled environment that continued to shift and change in varying degrees. In the piece, the body is/isn’t extraordinary, Lecturer in Dance, Katie Baer Schetlick worked with graduate student composers Becky Brown (composer, harpist, artist) and Heather Mease (multimedia artist, composer, and community arts organizer) on what Schetlick called a tribute to church sanctuaries, basements, and gymnasiums that provide space for the dancing body to “gather, experiment, fall, run in circles, and find refuge in the extra-ordinary.” In crossingDance | 4space_Aphorisms, graduate student composer Omar Fraire who both devised and performed the piece explained that his work “is inserted into reality by transducing it and functions as an act of resistance.” Undergraduate collaborators Rachel Good (choreographer) and Martin Moro (composer) worked together on Latter, which Good stated, “…examined the connections between sound and movement, exploring both harmonious and dissonant relationships.” The Fall Dance Concert also included original works by student artists Erin Perry, Paul Redling, Madeline Smith, Aiman Khan, Deanna Lewis, Grady Tollison, Kyle Lofland, Lauren Bredar, and Mattias Zuffoletti.
The evening of work concluded with Benevolence, a piece set by Taiwanese-born guest choreographer Chien-Ying Wang. Ms. Wang worked with 8 dance students during a week-long residency on this piece that explored dysfunction on seemingly organized groups like families, communities, and political bodies. The work probed questions like: What is the effect of dysfunction on the leaders and the groups themselves? And what is the impact of that dysfunction on humanity? How can communal bonding be used as an answer to battle this? This residency was made possible thanks to the generous support of the UVA Arts Council.